By Jim Shipley
Shipley Speaks 

Therefor, choose life

 

February 23, 2018



Here are some late night thoughts as I approach my 89th year. God knows (he or she, assuming of course...) that I am not a theologian, or for that matter—in the eyes of many who are—a religious person. A Jew? Oh yes—first and foremost and for at least the last two thirds of my life.

If I am a Jew, certain things become self-evident. I have a DNA that is consistent with millions and millions of people both living and dead. Many of those dead of course, not of natural causes. I am a descendent of a people who in essence invented a belief system which became a religion. I am a minority. I have a responsibility to my fellow man—that is to see that, at least in my life, to do what I can to see that each and every human being has an equal shot at respectability, responsibility and success.

As a Jew, I have a DNA that makes it natural for me to disagree with many, to take every “truth” with a respectively sized grain of salt. I don’t believe that Lot’s wife was turned into a “pillar of salt”—although I’ve seen the mythical location of that stark result of a lady disobeying her husband.


I don’t believe that Methuselah lived 900 years. I do believe the earth is at least a few million years older than we know it to be at this point in our lives. I do believe in evolution in almost all its forms.

I believe that any Jew with this DNA knows that in his deep background there was a personal connection to the State of Israel in one of its first two Commonwealths. I believe that if indeed the head of J Street really said that if the Jews want to stop anti-Semitism they should dissolve the State of Israel he should be struck by lightning—but I don’t believe he said it.

I find certain sections of the Torah and the various religious observances, stories and philosophies ringing true to me. There is a section in the High Holy Day services that tell of God speaking to the Jews. “I set before you death and life...therefore choose life...”

That’s an easy one to believe and follow—unless you dig behind the words and seek their true meaning. “Choose Life”—does that mean our own life or the lives of others as well?

We are directed to “Chose Life”—and I interpret that to mean to choose life over death for every human being. Where possible. If it comes to a choice I am going to cherish and protect those closest to me. I feel there is a need to develop and distribute life-saving drugs. I appreciate the amount of time and money spent by pharmaceutical companies to bring a new life-saving drug to market.


I also believe that our government with our money has a responsibility to keep those costs “within reason.” Not the company’s—the patients. It is just stupid that our government is prohibited by its own doing from negotiating prices for we the people.

“Choose life.” It states in the Torah that “he who saves one life it is as if he has saved the world.” Well, we Jews are famous for overstatement—but that is a good start.

When Jews are murdered simply because they want to live in peace in their own land I believe that “an eye for an eye” comes into play at that point. As a Jew through DNA I know that while I was born in Brooklyn I have a stake in Israel. That is not “Dual Loyalty.” I served in the armed services of the U.S. Our oldest son served in the IDF. We spread it around and salute both flags. Neither of us has ever taken a knee—but we can empathize with those who have.

I learned how to shoot in the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. was at war in Korea. I never felt I would fire a shot in anger and I didn’t. Our son learned how to shoot in the IDF and in Lebanon he heard a lot of shots fired in anger, but it was a war.

I see no reason why a weapon like an AK-47 is allowed to be manufactured for any buyer except the military of the United States. A magazine holding more than seven bullets should be illegal. “Hunting and sport” does not mean the rush from firing off 50 rounds in a row—even at a target.

Jews know all these things if they take the time to think them through—you do, don’t you?

 

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